Self-abuse as a way of life

self-abuse as a way of life
Do you live your life or drag it?

Self-development is wonderful.

It is important and necessary to develop useful skills in oneself, to get rid of unnecessary attitudes. However, self-development is increasingly equated with self-discipline. But in fact - it is a way of destructive violence against oneself. Why am I so categorical in this phrase? I believe that any change should begin with the possibility of self-acceptance. In order to take a step forward, you need to push off. It is important to have this point from which we will build on. I am for self-development without violence!

Ways development, goal achievement can be divided into two categories - through contact with oneself and through discipline. The first way is safe, effective, but more long. Therefore, few choose it. The path of self-discipline is the path of today's coaching. Personally, I am a categorical opponent of this method of development, since most often coaching strengthens the negative life scenario and poor attitudes. Those who survived the aggressive coaching program eventually end up becoming therapist's clients. So why waste time? I offer you alternative ways of development.

How do we commit violence?

“Force yourself”

This is the most common form of violence. Force yourself to learn English, force yourself to go to the gym, read one book a week, go to a psychologist, go to training. I know for sure: “push yourself” - it never works. Most often after a short time you will procrastinate, that is, put it off for later. In an attempt to overcome procrastination, you will most likely turn to coaching specialists, read articles on procrastination, make clear plans, come up with a reward system, and, again, you will force yourself to follow all this.

And at first it will work. You will even have the energy to do what you must. However, only at first. Usually, after a couple of weeks, the vast majority of such fighters with themselves have a new way - sabotage. For example, illness. Taking care of the disease is the most beloved way of workaholics not to fulfill their tasks.

You can still lose interest, switch to new goals, discount existing ones. So we resist coercion.

“Bribe yourself”

Another way is a fanatical search for ways to “bribe yourself”. A kind of mini-contracts with you about why you need it. Most popular trainings say that if you cannot force yourself to do something, find something that can bring you pleasure in this matter. And in principle - a good way. Yes, the trouble is often this is quite difficult. Because if this benefit were so obvious - the resistance would not be so strong.

For me, such an agreement with myself makes sense only if the pleasure received really pays off the effort. Otherwise, it may turn out that even something that could bring pleasure will cause disgust. And the saddest thing is that disgust will extend not only to this goal, but also to any other. This kind of violence, as a way to deceive yourself and convince yourself that the unpleasant is pleasant, entails a very tough payback.

Artificial motivation

This method is now in vogue. Artificial motivation - These are trainings and coaching, sharpened to activate energy reserves and let them into self-discipline. In the understanding of most of us, primarily subconsciously, discipline implies encouragement and punishment. This is the way to systematically carry out the same actions, regardless of anything.

Reading most books of successful people, you will stumble upon precisely this scheme of success. The worst thing is that it works. But at what cost ... to me self discipline - The most aggressive way to abuse yourself. In most cases, people who succeed in this way are people with a crippled psyche. People who had to suppress the instinct of self-preservation in themselves, abandon values, abandon attention to themselves in a healthy sense. These are people for whom activity has become more important than existence.

They are somewhat similar to wound toys: while the mechanism is wound up, they are effective and successful. But as soon as they stop to rest - oncological diseases begin, families break up, business collapses. People who succeed in this way often commit suicide or end up in a hospital with severe depression.

No, I'm not trying to scare you. Unfortunately, this is a reality that I encounter as a psychologist. If I see in front of me a successful person who is ready to throw himself in a meat grinder even in his office - I begin to seriously fear for his physical health as well. And often, alas, I fear for nothing.

The danger of strict self-discipline is that by programming yourself for regular actions, no matter what, you lose your sensitivity to yourself. You learn not to feel pain, even when it is strong. You learn to overcome fatigue, thereby taking the reserve energy reserves from the body. Learn to sacrifice loved ones to pay attention to your work. Gain success, but lose yourself and your life. You are not in the present. In other words, you do not live.

Change through adoption

The theory of change came to us from the Gestalt approach and is firmly rooted in all depth-oriented methods of psychotherapy. Frederick Perls, the father of gestalt therapy, at one time considered the approaches of psychoanalysts to be somewhat aggressive, and in his work he focused not on changing the client’s behavior or way of thinking, but on restoring the person’s right to be himself. A little later, another psychotherapist, Arnold Beysser, derived from his approaches the very paradoxical theory of change. It sounds as follows:

Real changes do not occur when a person tries to change himself, but when he truly becomes himself.

If you think about it, we rarely live in the present moment. We are most often in the past - memories or “chewing” of past events. Or in the future - in dreams and fantasies. And fantasies are not always pleasant. But the whole paradox is that life is not yesterday and not tomorrow. Life is what is happening right now.

Therefore, as the first tip to improve the quality of my life, I will say the following: take the time and energy to truly, deeply know yourself. Not only at the level of food and music that you like. First of all, at the level of personal boundaries. In other words, learn to understand how you feel about yourself and what kind of relationships you have with the world, and which ones don’t.

How to accept yourself

If you take it for granted that change follows through acceptance, then it’s quite simple accept yourself. Although no, it’s not really that simple. Self-acceptance is difficult. It hurts. Let's conditionally divide this process into several stages.

The first stage of self-acceptance

- This is a study of yourself, with your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, past experience, feelings about this experience. This is the hardest part. Again, relying on many tips, it is important to see the good side in yourself and cultivate their recognition. It's true. But, as practice shows, any of our negative life experiences are necessary for us at the stage when it is.

If at some point in time you didn’t do what you would like today, it means that at that moment you had no other inner choice. Your experience has value and value. Even if today you are very ashamed, even if it seems to you that you can never forgive yourself. Even if it seems to you that you can never forgive another person. You may not forgive, you may feel ashamed. Most importantly, do not deny or abandon your past. Learn to live with him, to live fully aware of him.

In my personal experience, I went a similar way when I shared stories with a psychotherapist for which I was ashamed. It was very difficult to see in myself qualities that I would not want to have at all. It was painful to recall stories in which I was hurt or scared. However, knowing and recognizing this experience, finding personal meaning and a personal lesson in it, I can now live with it calmly. My experience no longer affects me, and I use it when I need it. And this gives me tremendous power, the power not to be afraid of my past, and not to resist my present. Our past experience is the starting point for living today.

How it works? If you are not ready to face feelings about events that traumatize you, they continue to influence you subconsciously. They come out at the most inopportune moment as automatic reactions. When this experience is not just spoken, but lived, ideally next to a psychotherapist, trauma becomes a valuable experience. Which you are fully aware of, from the moment you react to the ways you did then and how you can manage today.

Exactly researching yourself, the past and the present is the first and most important step, without which it is impossible to change your present life and your future.

The second stage

- the realization that the past is in the past. I know you understand that. At the rational level, we all know that yesterday ended in success - we survived. But on a deeper level, more often than not, we want to change our past.

In order to at least somehow implement this, we go into fantasies about what needed to be answered, what had to be done. If events have occurred recently, we do this in the form of an internal dialogue. If the events happened long ago - this process occurs subconsciously, often in the form of dreams, or playing scenarios of those very conflicts in the current relationship. This does not work. And it will never work.

Therefore, the most important stage of self-acceptance is a full-fledged process of mourning over the fact that you will never have a happy childhood. You will never have perfect parents. You cannot do anything with the pain that people from the past caused you. That sounds cruel. However, it is this path that has to be passed in order to change your life today.

In order to be able to change your life today and tomorrow, you need to abandon the constant changes in this life in the past. Refuse fantasies about other reality scenarios. This does not mean abandoning your memories. On the contrary, it will be very useful to live these memories, to live emotionally, sometimes even through the body. Sometimes it’s nice, sometimes it’s not very.

Behind any pain is an unmet need for relationships with other people. This may be the need for security, sharing your experience with an important person, the need for protection from the parent figure. When a person fully experiences the sadness that the past cannot be changed, he instantly becomes easier.

At the last stage, it is important to turn awareness into skill. When you understand well what your needs are not satisfied, you can look for ways to meet them.

This is where articles, trainings, and other ways of self-development can be useful. Living past experiences and creating a clear boundary between the past and the present allows you to become so sustainable that all the new skills you get work to strengthen your future. If the residence was not completed, each new skill works to strengthen the past negative scenario.

You can’t build a house without strengthening the foundation.

At the stage of obtaining skills, I always work so that a person is aware of his deep needs. It's not about coffee in the morning and not about a beautician. This is about such needs as emotional care, self-reliance, a sense of security in relationships with people and alone. It is about opportunities to build healthy relationships that have healthy boundaries.

Violence over ourselves as a way of life is how we are really afraid to face ourselves. How do we lose the rejection of us by people from the past in the present life. Only accepting yourself, full and deep, leads to the fact that your life is changing. It is impossible to change the place where you are not.

The article was published in the newspaper “Mirror of the week”


  1. Gorgeous article ... Everything is very brightly written, imprinted in the heart ... I am ready to subscribe to every word ... Anastasia, your texts for a suffering soul are like a rainbow after rain.

    1. Thanks a lot, Anastasia!

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